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T-Space at The University of Toronto Libraries >
Journal of Medical Internet Research >
Volume 4 (2002) >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/4640

Title: Users of Internet Health Information: Differences by Health Status
Authors: Houston, Thomas K
Allison, Jeroan J
Keywords: Original Paper
patient education
health status
Issue Date: 22-Nov-2002
Publisher: Gunther Eysenbach; Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, Toronto, Canada
Citation: Thomas K Houston, Jeroan J Allison. Users of Internet Health Information: Differences by Health Status. J Med Internet Res 2002;4(2):e7 <URL: http://www.jmir.org/2002/2/e7/>
Abstract: [This item is a preserved copy and is not necessarily the most recent version. To view the current item, visit http://www.jmir.org/2002/2/e7/ ] Background: Millions of consumers have accessed health information online. However, little is known about their health status. Objective: To explore use of Internet health information among those who were sicker (fair/poor general health status) compared with those reported being healthier. Methods: A national, random-digit telephone survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project identified 521 Internet users who go online for health care information. Our primary independent variable was general health status rated as excellent, good, fair, or poor. Patterns of Internet use, and types of information searched were assessed. Results: Among the 521 users, 64% were female, most (87%) were white, and median age was 42 years. Most individuals indicated that they learned something new online (81%) and indicated that they believe most information on the Internet (52%). Compared with those with excellent/good health, those with fair/poor health (N = 59) were relative newcomers to the Internet but tended to use the Internet more frequently, were more likely to use online chats, were less likely to search for someone other than themselves, and were more likely to talk about the new information with their physician (odds ratio 3.3 [95% confidence interval 1.8-6.3]), after adjustment for age, education and income. Conclusions: Health care professionals should be aware that their sicker patients are more likely to ask them about information they found online. Physicians, public health professionals, and eHealth developers should work together to educate patients about searching for health information online and to provide tools for them to navigate to the highest quality information.
Description: Reviewer: Dyer, K.A
Reviewer: Licciardone, J
Reviewer: Eysenbach, G
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/4640
ISSN: 1438-8871
Other Identifiers: doi:10.2196/jmir.4.2.e7
Rights: Copyright (cc) Retained by author(s) under a Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Appears in Collections:Volume 4 (2002)

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